Can We Turn a Blind Eye to Eliminativism?

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Abstract:

In this paper I shall reply to two arguments that Stephen Stich (1990; 1991; 1996) has recently put forward against the thesis of eliminative materialism. In a nutshell, Stich argues that (i) the thesis of eliminative materialism, according to which propositional attitudes don't exist, is neither true nor false, and that (ii) even if it were true, that would be philosophically uninteresting. To support (i) and (ii) Stich relies on two premises: (a) that the job of a theory of reference is to make explicit the tacit theory of reference which underlies our intuitions about the notion of reference itself; and (b) that our intuitive notion of reference is a highly idiosyncratic one. In this paper I shall address Stich's anti-eliminativist claims (i) and (ii). I shall argue that even if we agreed with premises (a) and (b), that would lend no support whatsoever to (i) and (ii).

Keywords: Eliminativism; Folk Semantics; Theory of Reference

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09672550110081267

Publication date: November 1, 2001

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